Archive for March, 2007

Counting the blessings

My daughter’s a writer-in-training,  in the middle of a degree in Professional and Creative Writing. She may go on to film school when she finishes. (She’s done their fee-paying “foundation course” part time last year.)

She despairs of becoming a great writer. She says that her childhood wasn’t traumatic enough.

True, she comes from a broken home, but the breakup was recent and possibly one of the most civilized on record. She was never abused, beaten, poverty-striken or starving. So, she wails, “Where is my angst to come from?”

And I’m the same, (not that I particularly want to be a writer, though I like to write); I’ve been pretty lucky with my life, and things are pretty good right now, too. The kids are on track,  I’m making (just) enough to keep fed, I indulge my hobbies and I have a loving relationship to sustain me.

So, dear reader, if I seem to be short on blog inspiration, remember my shortage of angst.


My son’s dream

My son just stuck his head in the door and told me about his curious dream.

In his dream, everyone in the world woke up to find themselves two years in the past (in their 2-years’ younger bodies) with all the memories of the subsequent 2 years intact.

What my son found most amusing was that peoples’ biggest concern was that their MySpace profiles didn’t exist yet.

I don’t know if anyone has actually used this specific concept as a story plot (MySpace aside). But it would make for interesting reading.


  • People who knew they were going to die (do they remember any afterlife?)
  • Natural disasters to come (inevitable but now you can plan)
  • Commercial and business ideas, resource discoveries etc…. pre-empting future patents. (Who’d get a YouTube into production first?!)
  • Relationship failures.
  • Unborn children
  • The War in Iraq.

So, who’s used this one in print already? And … any more interesting suggestions for areas you could explore as consequences?

9 characters of fame

Earth-shaking news: TSAoPHahCoD makes an appearance on the “Balls and Walnuts” blogroll.

Unfortunately  TSAoPHahCoD has no blogroll  yet.  Your correspondent is too embarrassed to publish a very short list.  Nevertheless, Doug can be assured of a place of honour on it if and when it appears.  You can start at far worse places than Walnuts’ to explore the blogosphere.

But Doug… it’s microsoar!  not saur!!!

Ramping it up

It’s a long time since I’ve had butterflies in the stomach on a hang glider launch. I’ll admit that Mt Buffalo always gave me butterflies, but I haven’t flown there for a decade or so. Last weekend I got the chance to fly Mt Donna Buang for the first time, and the butterflies resurfaced.

Donna’s a pretty site, sitting 3150ft above Warburton in the Yarra Valley. The launch is a expanded mesh ramp and a deep slot in the trees that you have to launch into and fly out of.
If there had been any wind to speak of, it wouldn’t have been so bad, but the day was mild with only a breath of a breeze. Since you can’t fly a floater hang glider at Donna because the landing area is so far away (you’d land short in fields belonging to unsympathetic farmers), I took the ATOS. This would be the first time I would do an inland footlaunch and landing with this glider. To do so in nil wind conditions at a whole new site was an added level of stress.
Steve Norman and I set up our ATOS’s by the side of the road, deeming it too difficult to manhandle them down from the normal setup area. This meant scrabbling about in some long grass, and I managed to pick up a couple of leeches, and bled copiously when they were removed.
Like me, Steve hadn’t flown Donna before, but he was impatient and launched first. His flight showed that there was lift about, but very light and not extending much if any above hill height. As he hung about in the valley, two flex wings launched, and then I took to the ramp.
After a hard run, I dived off the ramp and zoomed out of the slot. I found light lift on the hill, but it was very poor; I eventually headed out over the valley, finding lift over the landing field and taking it back to takeoff altitude.
Eventually everyone (about 8 gliders) launched, and we all milled about in the valley for an hour or so.
My landing was good, but I spoilt it by not properly running it out properly and subsequently dropped the bar.
Of course, then we had to go retrieve the 2 cars that had been left at the top of the hill, which took another hour. Then an hour and a half drive home.
Donna’s a lot of fun, but the logistics of getting there, getting to the top, waiting for the right wind, risking not catching a thermal and the long turnaround all remind me of why I turned to nanolights!

Pretty as a picture


’nuff said!

You can’t go back again

In a fit of nostalgia, I included the De Laurentis film of “Dune” in a swag of videos I borrowed last weekend. Big Mistake.

I had fond memories of that film. I loved the decadent technology, and the sumptious look. Just as I loved Tim Burtons’ Gotham City in his Batman series (shame about the story and a Batman so wooden in his movements).

But on re-viewing, the movie itself seems so ponderous, and nothing more than a series of admittedly visually intriguing vignettes. Characters are introduced and dropped with no development and no significance to anyone who hasn’t read Frank Herberts’ book. Whole sections of the book are missing or perverted, and the story progresses either at breakneck speed or in excruciating detail. (the “mystical” visions in particular).

I still love the look of this 1984 film even though the special effects are often laughable by todays standards, but maybe it should have remained a memory.

*and yes, that’s Sting on the far right.

After a fashion

In the spirit of Deans’ post on Spring Fashion, here’s Johns’ Five Clothing Essentials Buy List for 2007…

  1. Socks: 10 pairs of identical black socks kills two birds with one stone. John never has to wear mismatched socks or try and keep pairs together. And as socks disappear into the alternate “sock dimension” (in mass exchange for coathangers), John always ends up with pairs and spares, not orphans.
  2. Polo shirts: in a selection of colours. John likes a collar, as “T” shirts irritate his throat. Plus they have a handy pocket for John to temporarily store stuff in, forget about and then find at the bottom of the washing machine later,
  3. “Work” trousers. John shops at the RSEA safety shop and buys workmens’ drill trousers at a rediculously low price (2 pairs for $30 last time!). John may not look trendy, but they’re hard-wearing and besides, he works from home and who’s going to tell?
  4. John wears Dunlop “KT-26” running shoes most everywhere. These are super comfortable and cheap (about $29). A review of running shoes done by “Choice” magazine some years ago actually gave them a favourable comparison with high end shoes in the $150 range. (That’s back when high end shoes only cost $150, btw)
  5. John wears mostly wears baggy shorts when no customers are expected, quite enjoying the breeze through his foliage.